Great footballers can outsmart their opponents, but to get the best of one opponent, two players don’t need to be great. The philosophy is that they have to work together, position themselves and move the ball well enough to play their rival out of the game.
Football has developed well enough from one on one duels to a more dynamic contest of 11 against 11, the quest to achieve numerical superiority where it matters is one of the key tasks of the coach. Defensa y Justicia did it wonderfully well in the all Argentine final of the Copa Sudamericana, winning the club’s first major trophy with a 3-0 score line over Lanus on Saturday
There have been more focus before the game on the Lanus players especially the 40-year-old centre-forward Jose Sand, his strike partner Nico Orsini and teenage attacking midfielder Pedro De La Vega but it was the collectivity of Defensa y Justicia that won the day. It was a triumph not only for Hernan Crespo, whose young coaching career has now received an enormous boost, but also for a club that has risen fast in recent times as a result of a commitment to an idea of play.
The Sudamericana is very much South America’s second best competition. The Copa Libertadores, an all-Brazilian final takes place next Saturday betw